Why Does Cadence Matter?

Cadence is an important aspect of cycling that needs to be understood better by coaches and athletes alike.  How fast or how slow your legs spin makes a massive difference in metabolic demand as well as muscle fatigue rates over the course of a race or workout.  This post will serve to educate you on what the current literature says  in regards to why utilizing different cadences for each cycling discipline is important, how metabolic and muscular demand is effected by leg speed, and what this all means to you!  First though, let’s define what cadence means to a cyclist:

Cadence is a measure of how many revolutions per minute (RPM) a cyclist is producing whilst pedaling.  This is measured by how many times the cranks turn.

What is “Normal” Cadence?

“Normal” cadence is very subjective, but for a trained athlete you can assume they will adopt a cadence of ~90 RPM over flat to rolling terrain (1).  In my experience, most beginner level cyclists will adopt a much lower cadence of ~70 RPM due to not having the neuromuscular pathways developed that allows for rapid contraction and relaxation of muscle fibers that comes with hours and hours of pedaling.  Beginner cyclists may also utilize a lower cadence due to metabolic inefficiencies (which I will get to later).

“Normal” cadence can also differ by what discipline the athlete is competing in, and especially the terrain they are riding over.  Lucia et, al. (1) found well trained cyclists will pedal ~90 RPM during a flat to rolling stage of a race, ~95 RPM during a time trial, and ~70 RPM over a high mountain pass.

Why the Differences?

Muscles have a finite ability to contract and relax, with this ability becoming less the more intense your ride is and the longer you ride for (cramps anyone?).  So, being able to delay muscle fatigue is paramount to every cyclist.  Fortunately, there are a few things you can do to improve this, but for the sake of this blog post, we will discuss how  different cadences can effect muscle fatigue rates.

~70 RPMs

This RPM has been established to be more demanding on the muscular system, but less demanding metabolically, i.e. you can save energy spinning slower, with the caveat of possibly fatiguing your muscles quicker (3).  Perceived exertion also tends to be relatively higher at this cadence (2).  Nielsen et al. (4) also found this lower cadence leading to improved endurance in well trained cyclists, at low intensities (think RAAM).

tour-de-france-1013225_1280

~90 RPMs

~90 RPMs has been established as the “normal” cadence for the trained cyclist.  Think of this as the Goldilocks cadence where the level of metabolic stress and muscle fatigue are relatively equal, and perceived exertion is comfortable (2,3).  This also tends to be a good cadence whilst sitting in a peloton as it allows you to both spin and coast with relatively ease.  However, going from 60 to 90 RPM can mean a 29% metabolic demand increase, so make sure you are fueling properly.

tour-de-france-2466218_1920

~100-110 RPMs

Now we are really minimizing muscle demand, but maximizing metabolic demands.  However, you really wouldn’t use this cadence level for anything other than a shorter time trial or mountain top finish where you are really trying to squeeze everything you can out of your legs.  You will also normally be working at your threshold or slightly above in these scenarios, which will cause a massive dump of lactate and subsequent muscle acidosis (burn).  Fortunately, at these higher cadences, the muscles can act as a pump and better flush out the acidosis-causing metabolites which results in being able to go hard for longer (5).

cycling-1063802_1280

What Does This Mean for You?

The big takeaway here is your cadence should change based on what your goals or races are, and your build/peak phases of training should reflect it.  If you are a track sprinter, don’t spend much time doing long slow cadence slogs around threshold and if you are participating in hill climbs, minimize the short and sharp high-cadence workouts accordingly.  Remember though, this isn’t true for the general preparation and base phases…Another thing to remember is:

Power = Force x Velocity (cadence)

Force takes a long time to develop whereas velocity can be improved relatively quickly.  If you are not spending time performing cadence-specific workouts, you are literally missing half of the equation!

So, do yourself a favor this Winter and incorporate some pedaling efficiency and cadence drills during your late base and early build phases that are specific to your goals;

  • Track riders / time-trialists / short hill climbers – SPIN THOSE LEGS!
  • Stage race / road racer – Goldilocks spinning mainly, but with a little bit of both high and low cadence work to replicate what you may encounter.
  • Long time-trialists (like RAAM long), long mountain climbers – Make sure you are doing a fair amount of lower cadence work to get your body used to the strength demands and especially at a relatively lower intensity to improve your body’s ability to utilize fat as a fuel source.
References
(1) Lucia, A., Hoyos, J., & Chicharro, J. L. (2001). Preferred pedalling cadence in professional cycling. Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, 33(8), 1361-1366.
(2) Marsh, A. P., & Martin, P. E. (1998). Perceived exertion and the preferred cycling cadence. Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, 30(6), 942-948.
(3) Peterman, James E., “Energy Expenditure During Passive Cycling: The Effects of Leg Mass, Cadence, and Adaptation” (2011). Integrative Physiology Graduate Theses & Dissertations. Paper 4.
(4) Nielsen, J. S., Hansen, E. A., & Sj Gaard, G. (2004). Pedaling rate affects endurance performance during high-intensity cycling. European Journal of Applied Physiology, 92(1-2),
(5) HAGBERG, J. M., J. P. MULLIN, M. D. GIESE, and E. SPITZNAGEL. Effect of pedalling rate on submaximal exercise responses of competitive cyclists. J. Appl. Physiol. 51:447–451,

GC Coaching’s Labor Day Weekend Training Plan w/ Workout Files

Labor Day is a mixed emotion Holiday for me, on the one hand it signifies the beginning of Fall and cyclocross season (my 2 favorites!), but it is also the “end” of Summer.  Fret not though, there is still plenty of riding time available, and cycling in the Fall can be the best (and prettiest) time of the year to ride.  Just think…apple cider donuts…hot cocoa…pumpkin beer (okay maybe not that one)…crisp cool mornings, and warm sunny afternoons…you get the point here!  Let’s not focus on the negatives, and utilize these next 3 days to become a stronger rider and start the Fall season off right!

The following 3 day plan starts off with high-intensity on Saturday (VO2 Max), mid-intensity on Sunday (Threshold / Sweet Spot), and lower-intensity on Monday (Endurance / Tempo).  Working this way will allow you to hit the highest output when your body is fresh, and as you become fatigued, the intensity drops off accordingly.  So, please don’t change the order of these workouts, there is a method to the madness.

Saturday’s Workout: VO2 5×3 + SST 2×10

VO2 + SST

Time: 1 hour and 22 minutes

Intensity Factor: .87

Training Stress: 102.7

WARM UP:
-10 minutes gradually progressing from Active Recovery zone to Endurance zone.
-3×30 seconds Spin Ups (110+ RPM) @Threshold zone+, 30 seconds easy.
-2 minutes easy
———
MAIN SET:
-5x 3 minutes @VO2 Max Zone (115% FTP) @85-95 RPM, with 3 minutes recovery (55% FTP) between.
-Recover for 5 minutes after the 5th interval.
-Then, 2x 10 minutes @Sweet Spot zone (90% FTP) @95+ RPM, with 5 minutes recovery (55% FTP) between.
———
COOL DOWN:
-10 minutes gradually reducing from Endurance zone to Active Recovery zone

Garmin file here | Zwift file here

Sunday’s Workout: Kitchen Sink

2017-09-01_1024

Time: 2 hours

Intensity Factor: .81

Training Stress: 132.2

WARM UP:
-10 minutes gradually progressing from Active Recovery zone to Endurance zone.
-3×30 seconds Spin Ups (110+ RPM) @Threshold zone+, 30 seconds easy.
-2 minutes easy
——
MAIN SET:
-10 minutes @FTP @100+ RPM
-15 minutes recovery @Endurance zone (65% FTP) @Comfortable cadence
-20 mins @Tempo zone (75% FTP) @80 RPM with a 20 seconds burst @VO2 Max zone (120% FTP) @110+ RPM every 3 minutes
-15 minutes recovery @Endurance zone (65% FTP) @Comfortable cadence
-5x 1 minute @VO2 Max zone (120% FTP) @90-100 RPM, 1 minute recovery (55% FTP) @Comfortable cadence
-15 minutes recovery @Endurance zone (65% FTP) @Comfortable cadence
-10 minutes @FTP @100+ RPM
——
COOL DOWN:
-5 minutes gradually reducing from Endurance zone to Active Recovery zone

Garmin file here | Zwift file here

Monday’s Workout: Endurance / Tempo Ride

2017-09-01_1031.png

Time: 2 hours and 30 minutes to 5 hours (depending on athlete training availability)

Intensity Factor: .75

Training Stress: 140 to 270 (depending on ride length)

WARM UP:
-10 minutes gradually progressing from Active Recovery zone to Endurance zone.
-3×30 seconds Spin Ups (110+ RPM) @Threshold zone+, 30 seconds easy.
-2 minutes easy
——
MAIN SET:
-Ride for 2 to 4 hours @Endurance/Tempo zone (55%-90% FTP)
-Keep your cadence in a comfortable range and your effort steady
——
COOL DOWN:
-10 minutes gradually reducing from Endurance zone to Active Recovery zone

-Riding at your Endurance/Tempo zone for long periods of time will increase your endurance, increase mitochondrial density, increase glycogen storage, increase plasma volume, and increase your cardiac stroke volume and cardiac output to name a few.
-It is important to stay within these zones for as much time as possible during this ride, so no surges going uphill and try not to coast when going downhill.

Garmin file here | Zwift not recommended for this ride for sanity reasons

Plan Totals

Total Time: 6 hours and 12 minutes to 10+ hours (depending on athlete training time)

Average Intensity Factor: .81

Total Training Stress: 375 to 505 (depending on athlete training time)

Get out there and RIDE!

❤️ GC Coaching

Should you do Running-Specific Workouts for Cyclocross?

This is a question I received from an athlete (be sure to ask us if you have any questions pertaining to cycling also!):

Dear Shayne –

I am getting ready for my first cyclocross race in late September.  How much running should I be doing (if any) to get ready?  I have heard and read many opinions on the topic, but I wanted to get yours also.

Short answer, yes, you need to perform running specific workouts for cross, but with a caveat of keeping them skilled and/or explosive based.

Skill-Based Runs

Since cross involves jumping off and back onto your bike multiple times per lap, steep climbs that are un-rideable, muddy terrain or sand that is impassable by bike, and getting caught behind riders who go down, it is important to be able to quickly transition from riding to running to riding again.  So, the primary component to a cross running skill workout should be the dismount and remount…

Dismounts / Remounts

Workout: Evil 20’s

This workout is VERY intense and needs to be done when well rested to get the most out of it (i.e. do it early in the week).

  1. Go ALL OUT for 20 seconds.
  2. Recover for 20 seconds spinning easy.
  3. Dismount and run alongside the bike up a steep incline or carry the bike on your shoulder up a set of stairs, again going ALL OUT.
  4. Remount and spin easy for 20 seconds.
  5. Repeat starting at step 1 again.

Start off with 2-3 sets based on current fitness level and work up to 8-10 sets.  Focus on keeping the dismounts and remounts as smooth as possible, especially when you become fatigued from the efforts.

Barriers

Barriers, logs, a stray dog on course, etc. all require dismounting, lifting the bike over the obstacle, and remounting again as quickly and efficiently as possible.  Like many things in life, this takes a minute to learn, but a lifetime to master.  So, the more you can practice and mimic the race conditions you are going to encounter, the better!  Practice carrying your bike over barriers that are on flat ground, downhill, uphill, on sand, grass, gravel, mud, etc.  Make it as diverse as possible.

Explosive-Based Runs

Generating a lot of force quickly is paramount to pretty much every discipline in cycling.  In cross, it happens to be more important than most due to the twisty and tight cornering found in a course and the need to be able to accelerate hard repeatedly out of those corners and after a remount.  If I have an athlete that is struggling with generating power, I will recommend a short block of plyometrics before their cross season starts to help improve this.

Workout: Cross Specific Plyometrics

Be sure you are warmed up before performing these exercises and STOP if you have any joint / muscle pain – aside from muscle fatigue of course 🙂  Perform each of these for 30-90 seconds (based on fitness) and rest for equal time between exercises.  Run through the list 1-3 times each.  Perform them 1-3 times per week.  A Google image search will bring up each of these pictures.

  1. High Knees
  2. Butt Kicks
  3. Squat Jumps
  4. Forward Bounding
  5. Skaters
  6. Box Jumps

So, should you do running-specific workouts in prep for cross?  Yes, BUT they should not involve lacing up your trainers and going out for a steady 5k run.  Your training needs to become more specific the closer your event and race season gets; save the steady runs for your cross-training during the offseason.  Include 1-3 days per week of intense training that involves lots of dismounts, remounts, and riding over varying terrain.  Be sure to include some plyometric training as well if you are not as explosive as you would like to be.

#crossiscoming

What is the Difference Between Aerobic and Anaerobic Exercise?

I have received a lot of questions regarding this topic as of late, soooo here comes some sciencey stuff!

Aerobic can be defined as INVOLVING oxygen, whereas anaerobic can be defined as NOT INVOLVING oxygen.  If we remember from a past post regarding cellular energy production, we burn different amounts of pyruvate and lactate depending upon how much oxygen is present in our cells at the time of glycolysis.

Aerobic exercise can be defined as INVOLVING oxygen.  The primary fuel for this type of exercise is pyruvate.

If oxygen is plentiful at the time of glycolysis, our cells will produce high levels of pyruvate and low levels of lactate to be used by the mitochondria for ATP production.  This type of energy production is extremely efficient and can be repeated literally all day long as long as you are fueling properly during exercise, hydrating, and have enough chamois cream :-).  This is aerobic exercise.

Anaerobic exercise can be defined as NOT INVOLVING oxygen.  The primary fuel for this type of exercise is lactate.

If oxygen is not plentiful at the time of glycolysis, our cells will begin to produce increased lactate.  The ratio of lactate to pyruvate produced will continue to change as the intensity becomes higher and/or oxygen levels decrease.  Eventually, you hit your lactate threshold which is the level at which your body cannot process the lactate being produced effectively and it begins to accumulate rapidly in the bloodstream.  As the body tries to utilize more and more lactate, hydrogen is produced as a byproduct.  The issue here is hydrogen lowers the pH of the blood present in the muscle (makes it more acidic) which is why your muscles burn with high intensity exercise (acidosis).  As the pH of the muscle continues to lower and become more acidic, muscular contractions will become less forceful and eventually cease if the muscle pH becomes low enough.  This is anaerobic exercise.

One of the most interesting aspects of cycling is it involves both aerobic and anaerobic efforts at times.  So, when you are training for your goal event or race, be sure to include both long steady efforts to improve aerobic capacity, but also short and hard efforts (with plenty of rest between) to improve anaerobic capacity.

How Do I Deal With Road Rash?

Crashing is an unfortunate aspect of cycling, but is seen as a rite of passage in most circles.  If you do happen to have the misfortune of crashing, losing some skin in the process is almost certain to happen.  The following is what has helped me in my years of crashing heal-up quick, but should never be used in place of medical advice!

Step 1. Clean It!

Crashing on a bike usually means getting a bunch of junk from the road or trail scraped deep into the wound.  If the debris aren’t removed well, it can lead to infection further down the line (which is no bueno), so step 1 is the most important step!

  1. Let the wound bleed for a bit to help carry out some of the debris from deep within the wound.
  2. When you get home, hop into the shower and let the water gently wash the wound out.
  3. If you still see debris in the wound, you are going to need to get it out with either your hands or a brush.  Ensure both are sterile before putting them into the wound, and if the job looks too big to handle, go to the hospital!
  4. After the debris are removed, gently clean the wound with warm soapy water.
  5. Pat the wound dry.

Step 2. Cover It!

Covering the wound is important to not allow foreign objects and bacteria to touch and possibly enter the wound.  How you cover it and what you use to cover it depends on if the wound is weeping (exudate), or not.

Actively “Weeping” Wound

  • Use triple antibiotic cream and cover the wound with a non-stick gauze pad.  Then pack another 1-2 regular pads on top to help absorb the wound exudate.
  • You can then cover this with a large Tegaderm dressing, or wrap some gauze around the area to keep the pads in place, or get that nifty tube compression gauze and look so pro ↓↓↓
elbandage
Source: The Best Bike Blog Ever
  • Change the dressing, clean the wound with warm soapy water, and reapply triple antibiotic ointment every 2-3 hours, or if the pads are leaking (ew!).
  • Do this until the exudate stops, which may take 2-3 days in severe cases.
  • Constantly check for signs of infection over this time as well.

Non-Weeping Wound

  • Clean the wound with warm soapy water and pat dry.
  • Get a large enough Tegaderm dressing to cover the area, place the dressing directly over top of the wound and leave it there.  Tegaderm dressing can stay in place for days and will heal the wound quickly and effectively and without scabbing.  You can also shower with it in place.
  • If you do notice some wound exudate, simply remove the Tegaderm, clean the wound and reapply a fresh dressing.
  • Again, constantly check for signs of infection.

Step 3. Protect It!

After the wound is healed, your skin is going to need to be kept hydrated (body lotion after you shower), blocked from the suns UV rays as it will burn super easy (SPF anyone?), and protected from repeat crashes as it will tear easier than mature skin (elbow/knee pads) for a few months.

Here’s to staying rubber side down!

THE TIME CRUNCHED ATHLETE | Best style of workout for maximum gains

In the first and second time crunched athlete (TCA) articles, I spoke about what the TCA should focus on to maintain fitness (HINT: Intensity!) and what they can expect to achieve with a lack of training time availability (HINT: adapt!).  In this article, I want to provide some concrete examples of TCA workouts.

3 Main Types of Workout

I suggest the TCA focus on 3 flavors of workout: Threshold, muscular force, and fatigue resistance.

Threshold

Threshold can be defined literally a million different ways by a million different coaches.  To me, and for this article, Threshold is defined as 91-105% of your FTP (If you don’t know what your FTP is, go test it!).  Just like there are a myriad of definitions for Threshold, there are also many ways to improve it.  Since we are referring to the TCA, we are focused primarily on the most efficient way to do so.  I have found this to be a mixture of Sweet Spot and VO2 Max intervals.

Workout #1 Sweet Spot Intervals

This one is not too exciting, but you can get a decent amount of specific TSS, complete it in a short time, and repeat it multiple days a week.

WARM UP:
-10 minutes gradually progressing from Active Recovery zone to Endurance zone.
-3×30 seconds Spin Ups (110+ RPM) @Threshold zone+, 30 seconds easy.
-2 minutes easy
———
MAIN SET:
-3×10 minutes @SST Zone @90+ RPM.
-Rest for 5 minutes between sets.
———
COOL DOWN:
-5 minutes gradually reducing from Endurance zone to Active Recovery zone

Workout #1 VO2 + Sweet Spot

VO2 Max training is my favorite way to train being a TCA and I have seen great fitness improvements with dedicated and consistent time spent in this zone.  VO2 Max Zone is supra-Threshold, I know, but just like a high tide rises all ships, performing supra-Threshold work will pull your FTP to new heights.  This workout combines the benefits of both VO2 Max and Sweet Spot training, while also putting more metabolic stress on the body as the Sweet Spot interval comes at the end.  Win, Win for the TCA!

WARM UP:
-10 minutes gradually progressing from Active Recovery zone to Endurance zone.
-3×30 seconds Spin Ups (110+ RPM) @Threshold zone+, 30 seconds easy.
-2 minutes easy
———
MAIN SET
-5x 3 minutes @VO2 Max Zone @85-95 RPM.
-Rest for 3 minutes between sets.
-Then 10 minutes @SST.
———
COOL DOWN:
-10 minutes gradually reducing from Endurance zone to Active Recovery zone

Muscular Force

Muscular force is how much pressure you can apply to the pedals for short periods of time (less than 10 seconds).  So, think about that initial jump creating a breakaway, the final 200 meters of a sprint, or surging up a short and steep roller.  Muscular force is crucial to improve ligament, tendon, and bone density and allow the body to create more power.  Think of this type of workout as upgrading the hardware in your computer so you can run faster software.

Workout: May the Force be With You

WARM UP:
-10 minutes gradually progressing from Active Recovery zone to Endurance zone.
-3×30 seconds Spin Ups (110+ RPM) @Threshold zone+, 30 seconds easy.
-2 minutes easy
———
MAIN SET:
-Every 4 minutes perform a Force Rep (10 total)
-Force Rep = Get into your largest gear and come almost to a complete stop. Once you are almost at a full stop, grab onto the drops and JUMP as hard and fast as you can and spin the gear up. The effort should be only 10-12 seconds, but should be an ALL OUT effort!
-In between force reps, spin easy at endurance zone
———
COOL DOWN:
-10 minutes gradually reducing from Endurance zone to Active Recovery zone

Fatigue Resistance

Fatigue resistance is being able to finish a ride or race strong and is important to work on so you don’t crumble at the end of a race.  I like to do shorter and more intense intervals with short breaks between to improve this aspect.  Doing this will keep the heart rate and metabolic demands of the workout high, while the short and sharp intervals will stress the muscular system.  I.e. these should hurt so good!

Workout: The Baffling Beau

WARM UP:
-10 minutes gradually progressing from Active Recovery zone to Endurance zone.
-3×30 seconds Spin Ups (110+ RPM) @Threshold zone+, 30 seconds easy.
-2 minutes easy
———
MAIN SET:
–Set 1: 10x (40 seconds @Anaerobic @110+ RPM w/ 20 seconds rest.
-Endurance Zone for 5 minutes.
–Set 2: 10x (30 seconds @Anaerobic @110+ RPM w/ 30 seconds rest.
-Endurance Zone for 5 minutes.
–Set 3: 10x (20 seconds @FULL GAS @110+ RPM w/ 40 seconds rest.
———
COOL DOWN:
-5 minutes gradually reducing from Endurance zone to Active Recovery zone

Just because you are short on time doesn’t mean you have to be short on fitness gains!  The above 4 workouts are great examples for the TCA to follow and implement into their program.  If you are looking for a more structured approach, check out our Time Crunches Athlete Training Plan here, or get in touch with us!

 

THE TIME CRUNCHED ATHLETE | Setting your expectations

In the last article, we covered what a time crunched athlete is and what they could do to stop the loss of fitness associated with decreased training time availability.  In this article, I would like to set some realistic expectations for the time crunched athlete as well as give some pointers to avoid common pitfalls associated with this type of training scheme.

How Strong Can I Get?

This is a loaded question as it depends on a few things, mainly: your previous history of training, age, and genetic makeup.  These 3 factors alone and together define how much training stress and intensity you can handle without the risk for burnout / injury.  Thus, how fit you can become.  Once you hit that maximum overload for training availability, your fitness will plateau.  The following is an example of what I mean showcased by a TrainingPeaks PMC chart:

PMC_Chart

As you can see, the blue line (which represents Fitness or CTL) has a nice ramp initially, but gradually starts to level off as the athlete reaches their fitness potential based on training availability.  Once this level-off of fitness occurs, you can try to increase intensity of the workouts further (be cautious with this if you’re already feeling tired), increase your workout frequency, or find time to ride long bi-monthly (as this athlete did, notice the 2 jumps in fitness?) to increase training stress.  However, if these aren’t an option for you, and you are literally at maximum training density, there are a few things you can do to mitigate the drawbacks of being a time crunched athlete:

  • Consistency is KEY!  Missing even 1 workout per week if you are time-crunched can result in fitness losses.  Make sure the time you set aside for your workouts is time that cannot be filled by other things.  I suggest working out first thing in the morning, or last thing in the evening (most find more success with the former).
  • During long rides, pace yourself – If your normal ride is only 1 hour in duration, that hard 3 hour group ride is going to be pretty miserable for the last 2 hours.  Be sure to pace yourself according to how you feel for the long rides, and if you are fatigued mid-ride, take shorter pulls and try to hide in the paceline.
  • Use matches uber-cautiously – One of the first things you lose as a time crunched athlete is your ability to respond to repeated hard surges in pace and micro-accelerations.  So, in a race setting, or hard group ride, try to bring that wheel back slower and more gradually (within reason, you don’t want to get dropped!) instead of jumping on  the pedals and surging back up to it.  You will be able to do this a few times, but after the 4th or 5th time you are going to start regretting it!
  • If you are competitive, pick events that suit your training – Criteriums, time-trials, MTB races, and cyclo-cross races are the best things for the competitive time crunched athlete because the events are short (usually under 1 hour) and mimic the intensity of the workouts performed.  Stage races, road races, and long circuit races aren’t the best thing to shoot for, but can be used for fun or as a way to get some additional training stress in.
  • If the stars align, RIDE!  The kids are at grandmas, your honey-do list is done: the stars have aligned and you have the afternoon free, yippee!  Use this time and RIDE LONG.  I suggest keeping your intensity level at Endurance / Tempo zone, but feel free to throw in some Threshold intervals throughout the ride or go for that KOM you have been eyeing.  Remember from the PMC chart above, these long rides can do wonders for your fitness, so be sure to utilize them!

Being a time-crunched athlete means resetting your expectations, training differently, and racing intelligently.  This doesn’t mean your competitive days are numbered, or you are going to get dropped at your weekly group ride though.  Stay positive, consistent, and embrace your new challenges.  You will be surprised at how much more enjoyable training can be!

Check out our Time Crunched Athlete plan here.

 

THE TIME CRUNCHED ATHLETE | What is the best way to train?

The time crunched athlete (TCA), to me, isn’t defined by how many hours they have available to train per week, but rather how many responsibilities they carry and how many balls they need to keep in the air at one time or another.  Being time-crunched can also be daily, weekly, monthly, seasonal, or even a yearly occurrence with some aspects of life progressing quickly at certain times which leads to less consistency and training availability.  I myself have recently gone through a major life transition with having a Son and buying a house within the past year.  This has meant my training time has been reduced by >50%, but I am at the same level of fitness (used loosely) that I was last year.  How is that possible, and what did I change to maintain it?

As Time Decreases, Intensity MUST Increase

There are 3 main aspects to training: frequency, duration, and intensity.  If 1 of the 3 changes, the other 2 will also change accordingly…

Frequency is how many days per week or how many times per week you train.  The TCA can very rarely modify how many days per week they can train, BUT they can increase the amount of times per week they train.  The easiest way to do this is doing a morning and evening double session.  I suggest making the morning workout supra-threshold based (VO2 Max or higher) and the evening session Threshold or sub-Threshold based.

Duration is how long the workout is.  This is also another hard aspect to change for the TCA, but even I can sneak in a 2+ hour workout over the weekend when my wife is home and if I get up early enough in the day.  Fortunately, endurance losses are much slower than top-end form losses, so getting out for a 2-3+ hour ride every 2 weeks is sufficient to maintain your endurance.  Now, this doesn’t mean you will be a Tour contender on just one 3 hour ride every 2 weeks, but this is better than nothing.

Intensity is how hard a workout is and is the MOST IMPORTANT aspect to consider for the TCA.  Intensity can be modified easily during a workout, training week, training block, etc. and should be the first thing to increase as time decreases.  I want to repeat that, as time decreases intensity MUST increase!  This is due to the fact that the body responds to stressful stimuli.  A stressful stimuli can be a 30 minute easy spin for a de-conditioned athlete, or a 6 hour Alpine slog for a professional cyclist.  Both of their bodies will respond accordingly to that stimulus, and once allowed time to recover, they will supercompensate which will make the same ride feel easier if repeated.

So, the first thing you need to do is find a way to judge training stress (TSS)

What the heck is TSS?

TSS is how stressful (to the body) a workout is.  It can be manipulated by changing a workout duration and intensity.  Now, the TCA has a super finite amount of time to work with, so we must increase the intensity of the workout to increase its TSS.

For example:

Workout #1 is a 2.5 hour Endurance Zone workout:

Endurance Workout

Notice that the TSS is 141.8 and the Intensity (IF) is .77

Workout #2 is an 80 minute Threshold / Anaerobic based workout:

Threshold : Anaerobic Workout

Notice that the workout is over 1 hour shorter, the IF is up to .9, and the TSS is ~30 less.  So, a very similar TSS and workload, but in over 1 hour less time.  Win, win for the TCA!  You can get even shorter and even more intense, but you get the idea here.

So, what is the best way to train for the time crunched athlete?  Ramp-up the INTENSITY!

 

New TrainingPeaks Workouts | How To Export

(The following is from the TrainingPeaks help center)

Structured Workout Export

Workout files exported from TrainingPeaks are compatible with most indoor training applications and many Garmin devices. Workouts can be exported in .ERG, .MRC, .FIT, or .ZWO formats.  For FAQs, see this article.

If you have Garmin Connect IQ compatible device you can also wirelessly sync your structured workout of the day to your device using the TrainingPeaks Daily Workout IQ app.

To export a workout that has been built with the Workout Builder, please click the ‘Export’ button in the upper right corner of Quick View.

 

You will then see this pop-up window:

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If you have an older Garmin (Edge 500/10/20, 800/10/20, and 1000; Forerunner 920XT, and Fenix3 ), export the .FIT file and follow these directions:

(The following is from the TrainingPeaks help center)

 

NOTE: You add these files directly to your device, not through Garmin Connect.

  1. Plug in device via USB
  2. Open Garmin device folder
  3. Open NewFiles
  4. Copy your TrainingPeaks .FIT workouts file(s) into the NewFiles folder. Note: some devices may require you to place the file directly in the “Workouts” folder.
  5. Eject device
  6. You should see your workout under the workout under Training > Workouts> Workout Title.  If you don’t see it immediately you may need to restart your device.

Note: If the workout does not load you may need to free memory by removing old workouts. In some cases you can only load one workout file at a time.  Hitting the Lap button will advance the workout to the next step.


On a newer Garmin device (Edge 520, 820, and 1000, the Fenix 5 series, and the Forerunner 935XT) follow these directions:

(The following is from the TrainingPeaks help center)

With the TrainingPeak daily workout IQ app you can easily download your planned structured workout for that day straight to your compatible Garmin device wirelessly through your phone.

Getting started

To use the TrainingPeaks Daily workout app you will need to have the Garmin Connect Mobile app installed on your phone and have your compatible Garmin device paired with the Connect Mobile App.  If you already upload your completed workouts to TrainingPeaks through the Connect mobile app and the Garmin Connect Autosync then your device is already paired.  More information about pairing your Garmin device with your phone can be found here.

Once your device is paired with the Connect mobile app you will need to download the TrainingPeaks Daily Workout IQ app.  You can access the IQ app store from the Garmin Connect mobile app and sync it straight to your device.  You can also download the app from the Connect IQ store here. and install it through Garmin Express.  You can find more information about accessing and installing IQ apps here.

Once the TrainingPeaks Daily Workout IQ app is installed on your device you will need to authorize it one time to access your TrainingPeaks workouts through the Garmin Connect mobile app

Make sure the Connect Mobile app is running on your phone then tap or select the IQ icon or menu on your device to see your available IQ apps

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On the next screen select the TrainingPeaks app from your list of installed IQ apps.

The first time that you launch the Daily Workout app you will see a prompt to authorize the Garmin Connect mobile app to read your TrainingPeaks calendar.

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On your phone enter your TrainingPeaks username and password to authorize the app.  If you have a coach and athlete account make sure that you are entering your athlete account username and password.

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Once the app is authorized whenever you open it to see a list of that day’s workouts from TrainingPeaks.  Though you only need to authorize the app once, your device needs to be paired with your phone and the Garmin Connect mobile app every time you want to sync a new workout to your device.

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Select the workout that you want to download to your device.  If you only have one structured workout in TrainingPeaks that day it will automatically sync to your device.  Note that workouts that aren’t built with the TrainingPeaks Workout Builder will not show in your list of workouts.

Once the workout is synced to your device you can use it immediately or it will be saved to your device to use later.

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Exporting to Zwift, download the .ZWO file and follow these directions:

To use the custom workout file, save the .ZWO file to your computer’s /Documents/Zwift/Workouts directory. Now when you start up Zwift you will see the workout  under the Custom Workouts category in the workout picker.
And remember, the custom Zwift workouts are here:
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Then:
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For those using the iPad / iPhone versions, read this for directions: http://zwiftblog.com/copy-workout-files-zwift-ios/


Original Articles:

https://help.trainingpeaks.com/hc/en-us/articles/115005055028
https://help.trainingpeaks.com/hc/en-us/articles/115001076908-Structured-Workout-Export-for-Garmin-Devices
https://help.trainingpeaks.com/hc/en-us/articles/115000325647
https://gaffneycyclingcoaching.com/2017/03/07/downloading-workouts-to-zwift-from-training-peaks/

How Do I Change A Flat Bicycle Tire?

Being able to change a flat tire is a necessary skill to have if you want to ride your bicycle outside (unless you are a professional and have a full-time team car following you, of course).  Changing a bicycle tube for the first time can be an extremely frustrating experience for a new cyclist, but with some helpful tips and tricks it won’t be AS bad.  Just like anything else though, the more practice you get, the better you will be.  So, for the uninitiated, I suggest practicing this skill in the comfort of your home before venturing out and risking having a flat tire!

Changing a Flat Tire:

1. Remove the wheel from the bicycle and set the bicycle on its side DRIVETRAIN UP.

If the rear wheel is flat, before you remove the wheel, shift to the smallest (hardest) gear.  This will make putting the wheel back onto the bike much easier as you know what gear to line the chain up with.

2. Separate the bead of the tire from the rim with your hands.

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Doing this will allow your tire level to get in between the tire bead and rim far easier.

3. Insert the tire lever between the bead and rim.

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Once the lever is between the bead and rim, push the lever down to expose the tire bead over the rim.  I suggest placing the tire lever OPPOSITE from the valve stem, the tire will be easier to remove for subsequent steps.

4. Remove one side of the tire bead from the rim.

This part takes loads of practice to get right, so do not get frustrated with yourself if it doesn’t go as smoothly for you.  Notice my hand grip on the lever, what the angle of the lever is, and how I keep the head of the lever perpendicular to the rim surface.

5. Remove the inner tube.

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Again, do this starting OPPOSITE from the valve stem.

6. Remove the valve stem from the rim.

Expose the valve stem completely by rolling the tire over and then pull the valve stem STRAIGHT UP for removal.

7. Insert the new tube and reseat the tire bead.

Now we start AT the valve stem and work away from it.  Notice how I keep one hand at the valve stem and work my other hand away from it.  This keeps the tire bead seated.  Do this process all around the tire until you get to the last few inches…

8. Roll the last bit of tire bead onto the rim.

WARNING!  You are going to spend about 20 minutes doing this last step the first time you change a tire.  DO NOT use tools here as you run the risk of puncturing your fresh new tube.  Use the palms of your hands to roll the tire bead onto the rim surface, using the wheel itself for leverage.  Notice my hand placement and how I work the tire onto the rim with my PALMS not my THUMBS.  Then, once the tire is seated, do a quick once over and roll the tube further into the tire to prevent any tube sticking out of the tire.

9. Reinflate the tube.

10. GET RIDING AGAIN!